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Dec 7, 2010 11:45 AM

Canary Square, first thoughts...

I'm surprised that there haven't been any posts yet about Canary Square, the new place that opened in JP a few weeks ago. My understanding is that it's owned by the same folks that own Coda, which I've never been to but I've heard good things.

I've only eaten there once thus far, and grabbed a beer but no food their opening night. The burger, I had a few nights ago was decent, but definitely not great. The beef itself was not all that flavorful, and surprisingly dry given that it was quite pink - a shade past the med-rare I requested, but not quite to medium either. A few bites were juicy, but by and large it really fell down on that count. Didn't love the bun, which was a faux-brioche, also on the dry side. The upsides were a nice, smoky flavor from their wood grill and decent blue cheese (my request). For $12, though, they REALLY need to be sourcing tastier (and fattier) beef, unless they're doing something in the cooking process that's drying it out. The fries were equally unexciting. They had a decent potato flavor, but also suffered texturally. They were marginally crisp with a fairly dry, mealy interior, and didn't taste particularly fresh. The brighter points were the house pickles, which were pretty good, and one roasted radish I stole, which was simple and nice.

After all that there were some things to be happy about. The service at the bar was terrific and friendly. Our bartender was endearing in a very neighborhoody way, asking folks their names as they left in a way that seemed quite warm and genuine. The beer list is good -- not quite fancy-beer-bar-good, but a solid craft selection and well priced. My critique is that it needs more variety - I love IPAs and pale ales, but they need to mix it up more.

Overall, my early read is that it's a place with promise, but not really firing on all cylinders. I hope that they improve just a bit. I feel like they're not too far off, and would make a good addition to the neighborhood.

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  1. A pescatarian and vegetarian had dinner at Canary Square last night. We liked the open industrial looking space. The bar scene was lively and a good addition to the JP scene. (Warning - with the high ceilings, chatter and music - it's pretty noisy.) Service was very friendly.

    There is no bread service, but we were okay with the tasty house pickles. My DC started with the cod fritters which he liked. The serving was very generous - five huge fritters for $8. He settled for the mac and cheese entree as the only fish offering was a stew which contained sausage. He rated the dish above average, but not a wow. Came with a side salad.

    I had the grilled vegetable lasagna. This proved to be was a dense tower of thinly sliced smoky vegetables - no pasta, no filling - topped with a thin veil of mozzarella. It was surprisingly heavy and the surrounding marinara sauce was just okay. Would have much preferred a more traditional version of lasagna. We shared a good butterscotch bread pudding topped with pumpkin custard ice cream from JP Licks.

    The menu is quirky - (popcorn of the day, fried twinkies?) ,and the entrees could use some rethinking in my opinion. However, I think the place has potential, so will wait and see.

    Anyone know the source of the name?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jpcat

      Canary Sq. is the name of the the intersection. It is a hero sq., named after a veteran.

    2. I ate at Canary Square for the first time last night and overall it was a good experience.

      First, I really like what they've done with the space. I had no idea how big this building could be when it was chopped into smaller rooms. I know at some point we'll all get sick of the exposed bricks, rough wood look, but I still dig it right now.

      We had the chimichurri popcorn to start which was nice and tasty. Also shared some of the salt roasted radishes which I enjoyed--we both added more salt, but they were simple and good.

      For dinner I had the warm swiss chard and cranberry salad which came with pulled chicken and bacon vinaigrette. Now that I'm looking at the menu it mentions pecans and I'm pretty certain my salad didn't have any. At any rate, it was really good. The swiss chard pieces were pretty gigantic to start off, but they tasted great with the vinaigrette and the pulled chicken was nice--almost crispy, which I liked. With a poached egg on top, this really could've been my whole meal. Alas, I also had a side of their mac & cheese which I liked. I could really taste the tarragon in it and it wasn't too cheesy or too dry, it was light enough so that I didn't feel overwhelmed eating it. So many restaurants overdo mac and cheese with 4 kinds of cheese, but this was simple and very good.

      My dc had the beef skewers which she described as very tender and a side of the brussels sprouts and bacon which were roasted and soft with more like lardons than pieces of typical bacon.

      Our waitress was super friendly. Funny, they bring you a comment book to write in with your check which we flipped through and got to read all of the complaints in it. A little odd, particularly after I've seen how mean people have been about their first week on Yelp.

      I'll definitely go back and try an actual entree next time. I appreciated the beer selection and definitely agree with celeriac about needing more variety--loads of IPAs, I'd love a few porters or stouts on the list. I think they're a great addition to JP and look forward to seeing what they mature into.